June 23, 2009
FARMINGDALE, N.Y. –
Playing one of the toughest golf courses in the nation under some of the most difficult weather conditions in the history of the event, current Seminole men’s golfer Drew Kittleson and former Seminole golfer George McNeil played in the 109th US Open at Bethpage Black Course June 18-19. Despite not making the cut after enduring three days of record-setting rain, both players played well and represented Florida State University and its golf program on one of golf’s brightest stages.
Kittleson (Scottsdale, Ariz.) finished with a 36-hole total of 153 with rounds of 80 and 73 while McNeil (Naples, Fla.) finished with a two-day total of 145 that included scores of 74 and 71. Kittleson finished in a tied for 139th place in the final standings. McNeil missed the cut by one stroke. Kittleson was playing in his first career US Open while McNeil, who turned professional in 1998 after his career at Florida State, was playing in his third US Open. McNeil finished in a tied for 61st place.
Kittleson played extraordinary golf over his final 27 holes after competing in conditions that were “unbearable” on the first day of the event. He was a total of six over par over his last 27 holes played; three over par on his second nine holes of the first round and three over par over his final 18 holes for a 13-over par total of 153.
Kittleson played his best golf on the par four, 525-yerd seventh hole during the first round. His approach shot left him approximately 30 feet from the hole. He then landed a chip shot two fee from the hole and putted in for par.
Kittleson ended his first round tied with four other golfers in 147th place. He was 16 shots behind Mike Weir, the first round leader.
He played as well as any of the 15 amateurs in the field to begin the second round with birdies on three of his first six holes but struggled with his putter during much of the remainder of the round. He three-putted on four different holes in his play during the second round.
Kittleson birdied back-to-back holes on two and three to set his early round score at one-under par. He closed his round with eight holes of par and one birdie to improve his score by seven strokes as compared to the first round.
The US Open was the second of two majors Kittleson played in this season after playing in the Masters Championship at Augusta National in April. He will now attempt to qualify for the Walker Cup team that will compete this summer. The Walker Cup matches the top amateurs from the United States against the top amateurs from Great Britain and Ireland.
McNeil, had better luck in his first round, and carded a four-over par 74. His play was interrupted on the first day by the heavy rain, and he finished his first round play on Friday morning before beginning and completing play in the second round.
McNeil played even better golf in the second round as he carded a one-over par 71 over his final 18 holes. He missed the cut by one stroke. McNeil, did though, put himself in contention with a birdie on the par four, 408-yard yard sixth hole. He needed at least one birdie on one of his final three holes of the round but closed with three consecutive scores of par and a scored of 71.